(Topic ID: 86794)

My STTNG LED (and LED OCD) Conversion


By GabeKnuth

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 35 posts
  • 18 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by herg
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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#1 5 years ago

I just wanted to take a minute and report back on my conversion of STTNG from all incandescent to all LEDs. I specifically avoided LED machines when I bought this game because at the time I hated them. I still do when used incorrectly on old machines. Then I got my hands on a WOZ and an STLE, and poor STTNG looked so dull compared to them. So I set out looking for a solution.

My biggest problem with LEDs was the harsh on/off flashing of them. It drove me crazy, and turning off GI dimming also took some ambiance out of the game. Newer games made for LEDs don't have that problem, of course, but older games are just too difficult to play when your pupils are constantly switching from huge to small. Then I found Herg's LED OCD, and it changed everything about LED's for me.

I bought both the LED OCD and the GI OCD. They took about an hour to install, and that was all really straightforward. The best part about them is that if you do nothing at all after installing them, the boards still work great! LEDs fade on and off just like incandescents. You can tweak the fade and each LED's brightness, if you want, but even out of the box was good. My favorite thing to do is open up the management app for the LED OCD and put it in passthrough mode. That turns off the LED OCD board and shows the playfield the way it would have been if you just put in LEDs. Turning back on the LED OCD brings back all the fading voodoo that Herg added in. Worth it's weight in gold right there.

As for the LEDs I used, once I saw the kit from Pinballbulbs.com, I couldn't resist. Originally I was going to go with the NoFlix bulbs to address my second biggest issue with LEDs (the flickering), but I still would have had the issue of no fading.

The Pinballbulbs kit is unreal, and when paired with Herg's boards, the end result is a super-colorful, brilliantly lit game. It doesn't look original, but it does make an old machine look good next to new ones. I was dead set against modding STTNG (I thought of myself as a purist), but I'm so happy I did it. Thanks to PinballBulbs for their efforts in assembling a great kit, and especially to Herg because there's no way I would have done this without the OCD boards!

#2 5 years ago

Thanks for the feedback and kind words.

Quoted from GabeKnuth:

The best part about them is that if you do nothing at all after installing them, the boards still work great!

Since STTNG is a WPC89 game, one thing you do need to do is set the control source for string 4 and 5 to input 4 and input 5 respectively. Otherwise, strings 4 and 5 won't dim. This is because the GI OCD is configured for WPC95 games by default.

#3 5 years ago

LED OCD is awesome, the only problem is now I want it in all my games. It looks great in Tron, it uses so many flashing inserts as part of the gameplay, was totally worth it to get the proper pulsing back.

#4 5 years ago

Thanks for the kind words as well!

Herg's boards are really sweet and turn LEDs into something much more!

P.s - super solid looking line up!

#5 5 years ago

Nice Job! This is a great board with a great Kit!

More pictures please!

#6 5 years ago

I'll see what I can get picture-wise. Trying to find a way to accurately show the lighting without it looking too blue.

@Herg - I did change the String 4 and 5 to the inputs rather than having them be always on. I'll have to look at the mod port, because that might be useful tweaking the LED strips that come from PinballBulbs.

If I had to change anything at all, it would be to make the blue light strips a little whiter so that it matches STLE a bit more. I really like how ridiculously white that game is. The purple lights that come with the kit really do a great job on this game (not sure about others, but since STTNG is already purple, it works), so maybe purple light strips? @PinballBulbs - do you guys even have those? If they lit it up as cleanly as the purple supers, that would be pretty cool.

And yeah, @Aurich...I've got a Road Show en route that isn't even mine that I think I want to outfit with LED's and Herg's board.

A side note - if you use the LED OCD board, make sure you mount it high enough in the backbox to access the USB port. I didn't pay attention to it, so I had it mounted too low and had to move it.

#7 5 years ago

Very cool! I'm planning to shop out my STTNG soon and was debating whether or not to go with LED's or not and was contemplating the Pinballbulbs kit. If you have more pics to share and or a short video I would really appreciate seeing it to help make my decision easier. thanks!

#8 5 years ago

Both are on my list. After converting most of my STTNG playfield to LEDs, the flicker is starting to get quite noticeable. As an aside, I have a slow color changing LED for the wormhole, but it doesn't really color change. I assume it's because it's blinking. Can LED OCD help control the behavior of those to better exploit their nifty features?

#9 5 years ago
Quoted from GabeKnuth:

@PinballBulbs - do you guys even have those? If they lit it up as cleanly as the purple supers, that would be pretty cool.

Yup! Resistor is on the strip specifically to match that purple we use for the spotlights. Here it is, http://pinballbulbs.com/products/purple-no-solder-led-light-strip-williams-wpcwpc95-games

You will be able to replace the current one you have on there with this and daisy chain into current connect we provide. This will have the exact same connector as your LED strip pack had.

#10 5 years ago

A ColorDMD is also a nice addition on this title. I love the PinballBulbs kits. Need to get one of those boards and see how I like it...

#11 5 years ago
Quoted from snaroff:

A ColorDMD is also a nice addition on this title. I love the PinballBulbs kits. Need to get one of those boards and see how I like it...

Seconded! ColorDMD on STTNG is killer

#12 5 years ago

See, I can't get past the fact that the light doesn't pop off the screen the way the DMD does, especially in bright rooms. I do respect the hell out of the solution and the way they've implemented it, though. If that screen could be brighter or the black darker, I think that would go a long way.

Could just be the settings that the games I've played have configured, though...maybe they can be brighter?

#13 5 years ago

Get rid of the colored led strips and replace them with cool white led strips.

#14 5 years ago

great job! Herg's boards are essential for getting certain games looking great with LEDs.

#15 5 years ago
Quoted from GabeKnuth:

If that screen could be brighter or the black darker,

Give it about 10 years... OLED DMD is an inevitability...it's just that nobody wants to spend 3000 bucks on one right now.

#16 5 years ago

Just when I thought I was finally done dumping cash into my STTNG.

Will it never end?

#17 5 years ago
Quoted from GabeKnuth:

See, I can't get past the fact that the light doesn't pop off the screen the way the DMD does, especially in bright rooms. I do respect the hell out of the solution and the way they've implemented it, though. If that screen could be brighter or the black darker, I think that would go a long way.
Could just be the settings that the games I've played have configured, though...maybe they can be brighter?

For the rooms I play in, the ColorDMD looks great (from the players perspective). The only time I notice lack of brightness is when I'm standing to the side watching someone else play.

On the positive side, the ColorDMD seems to have much less glare.

#18 5 years ago

I took a quick video of Herg's board in action. It shows the LED kit and the board both off and on using a feature of the configuration app called Passthrough. It's seriously one of my favorite things to do!

Also, here's a few other pictures. I took these with the lights on in the room and I think it accurately represents how it looks when you're standing there in the dark. Most pictures taken in the dark look way bluer than they actually are.

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#19 5 years ago

Thanks a lot, bulldoggk, the game looks fantastic, no doubt! Your video was an excellent demo of the effect of Herg's board; I'm sold! My STTNG is still incandescent because I was worried about making an expensive and frustrating error. The passthrough demo was enough to show me what I was worried about happening, and it does appear that Herg's board does a beautiful job of mitigating that.

Thanks for doing this, and Herg, my concerns are relieved, and you've got another customer once I get the dough together for the pinballbulbs kit.

BTW, ColorDMD is a very big upgrade for this game!

#20 5 years ago

colorDMD, LED OCD, and GI OCD put this game right up there with anything being manufactured today in my opinion.

#22 5 years ago

I keep getting more an more excited about it! Can't wait to get one for me STTNG! One feature I like is being able to control LED brightness. Some of my LEDs are brighter than others (mostly those I had to side-mount so I used positionable LEDs). Start Mission, for instance, is pretty in your face, so I'd like to tone it down a bit.

The LED annoyance isn't near as bad as I thought it would be but, oh wow, does it look so much better with fading! I can live with it as is now, but I'm quite excited to get my hands on both an OCD and a GI.

-1
#23 5 years ago
Quoted from GabeKnuth:

I took a quick video of Herg's board in action. It shows the LED kit and the board both off and on using a feature of the configuration app called Passthrough. It's seriously one of my favorite things to do!
» YouTube video
Also, here's a few other pictures. I took these with the lights on in the room and I think it accurately represents how it looks when you're standing there in the dark. Most pictures taken in the dark look way bluer than they actually are.

I'm not usually an LED fan on older games due to the strobing issues and loss of fade effect, but that looks great! Thanks for providing the video and pics.

#24 5 years ago
Quoted from GabeKnuth:

A side note - if you use the LED OCD board, make sure you mount it high enough in the backbox to access the USB port. I didn't pay attention to it, so I had it mounted too low and had to move it.

My LCD OCD board is on the way, and I'm on the waiting list for the GI OCD board. Can you take a picture showing your placement for the boards and how tight it's in there with both.

Thanks.

#25 5 years ago
Quoted from m00dawg:

Start Mission, for instance, is pretty in your face, so I'd like to tone it down a bit.

That is, for the moment, the only one that I dim as well. The blue LED looks cool in there, but it's really, really bright!

#26 5 years ago
Quoted from southbound:

My LCD OCD board is on the way, and I'm on the waiting list for the GI OCD board. Can you take a picture showing your placement for the boards and how tight it's in there with both.
Thanks.

You bet. Here's a shot of the LED OCD in the upper right of the backbox. This is my first mounting location, and if you look closely you can see why there was a follow up The USB port is below and to the left of the big IC, and I didn't pay attention when I mounted it. So when I went a few days later to hook up the cable, I had to move the board up an inch or so. There's plenty of wire to make that happen, though. The kit also comes with an interconnect board, which sends the column/row headers up to the OCD board (from which another pair of wires comes out of the OCD board and into the PDB). You can see it mounted to the bottom right floor of the backbox.

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Here's the GI OCD. This one was a bit difficult. I think there's a difference in the way the backboxes are designed on WPC95 games, and that piece of wood that the speaker panel hangs on is not as in the way as it is on a WPC89 game.

Herg suggests loosening the screw so that the board sits at an angle. I wanted it tight, though, and not bent, so I decided to lop the corner off the piece of wood with a pull saw. The speaker panel fits fine, and the USB cable barely fits without putting pressure on the board. I actually cut some of the rubber back from the USB end so that it wasn't so long and fit easier. Figured if I screwed up the cable, they're cheap enough to replace.

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The cables that Herg sends are long enough to run from the backbox out the coindoor. Since I won't mess with GI nearly as much as inserts, I just ran my trimmed USB cable with enough slack to reach both the GI board and the LED board. It barely sticks out the coin door, so I'll probably put a 3' extender on it or something, but it works if I sit right next to the coin door to make adjustments.

#27 5 years ago

Ouch! I wish you hadn't chopped the block up like that. I found some inexpensive right angle adapters that I'm going to start putting in the kits.

Are you finding the 10' USB cable too short? I can go back to 15' ones, but I have found that they can occasionally cause communication issues. I bought one of the 30' active extensions from Monoprice, and it works way better than I expected. It was something like $12, and comes in handy since I have a desktop PC on the other side of the basement that I can use when I don't feel like going upstairs and stealing the laptop from my wife.

#28 5 years ago

Herg, I had a communication issue with the 15' one included with my first board, so my vote is to stick with the 10', which is plenty of length for me.

#29 5 years ago

Thanks for the writeup, bulldoggk. Very helpful information.

#31 5 years ago

thats pretty sweet! machine looks great!

#32 5 years ago

I have the LED OCD installed in mine, and I am anxiously awaiting the next run of GI OCD boards. These products are definitely helping these older games. I was seriously considering selling my STTNG last year. I wasn't playing it much after I bought AC/DC, and it just looked really old and dated sitting next to the new machine. STTNG has been my favorite game since 93 when it came out, so I decided to update it instead of selling. I have added the pinballbulbs kit, LED OCD, pinbits shaker, and Rock's undercab kit. This game is a lot more fun to play now. I already had the FF speaker kit, so the sound was good. The lighting and shaker really add a lot to the game. I am happy to be enjoying one of my favorites again.

GnR, Apollo 13, and Demo Man are currently getting the same upgrades. I really don't want any games in my gameroom that do not have this level of lighting. I am sold, and not going back.

#33 5 years ago

@Herg - I was going to buy a right angle adapter, but I everything I saw still would have interfered with the metal bracket that holds the speaker panel on. I could have moved the board back a bit more, but then it would've been a pain in the neck to get to.

Plus, I figured that block of wood is just a little 1x1 of MDF, so if I ever wanted to return it to it's original state it would only take about 10 minutes to find a scrap, cut it, paint it, and nail it back in

The 10' cable is perfect, but since I chose to run just one cable that could easily reach both boards in the backbox, I have less cable to stick out the coin door. It is not a problem at all, though, so if you have comm problems with the 15' cables, stick with the 10 footers.

Also, with regards to lighting (not that anyone asked!), I find the back right side is a little dark using the kit. I ordered a 4+1 purple tower LED from cometpinball to see what happens if I put that in the pop bumper under the right ramp. I have high hopes! I hadn't seen them in 6.3v models before, and I thought they looked cool. http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/4s-1s.htm

#34 5 years ago
Quoted from GabeKnuth:

I took a quick video of Herg's board in action. It shows the LED kit and the board both off and on using a feature of the configuration app called Passthrough. It's seriously one of my favorite things to do!
» YouTube video
Also, here's a few other pictures. I took these with the lights on in the room and I think it accurately represents how it looks when you're standing there in the dark. Most pictures taken in the dark look way bluer than they actually are

IMG_4794.JPG 176 KB

IMG_4796.JPG 294 KB

IMG_4795.JPG 258 KB

That was a fantastic demo of Herg's board with a high quality video.

Now, if we could only get some of the boards!

#35 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballBulbs:

Now, if we could only get some of the boards!

Tell me about it!

Actually, the particular board being demoed in that video is in stock for the time being.

The cables have historically been the biggest challenge, and I think that's finally under control. I have a larger Stern build underway now. So far feedback has been mostly good on the GI boards, and things look good for building more of those without needing design changes (which would take more time and money).

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